March 23, 2010-Leading Tech CEOs Bring Clear Message to Washington: Innovation Critical to Creating Jobs, Growing U.S. Economy

Home » March 23, 2010-Leading Tech CEOs Bring Clear Message to Washington: Innovation Critical to Creating Jobs, Growing U.S. Economy

Washington, DC – Dozens of leaders from TechNet, the bipartisan policy and political network of CEOs that promotes the growth of the innovation economy, convene in Washington, D.C. this week for the organization’s annual CEO fly-in to discuss the policy solutions necessary to spur the American economy and maintain the nation’s innovation leadership.

The TechNet executives are meeting with senior Obama Administration officials and an array of bipartisan Congressional leaders to advocate for a robust innovation policy agenda comprised of three critical areas: improving the nation’s education system and human capital support; fostering a globally competitive business climate; and driving investment for clean technology and 21st century energy solutions. At the same time, TechNet today unveiled the results from an independent survey of likely U.S. voters on a variety of questions related to the technology industry and state of the economy conducted by the polling firm Zogby International.

“This new survey clearly demonstrates a growing awareness among the American people that innovation and discovery are vital to our economic future,” said Rey Ramsey, President and CEO of TechNet. “Simply put, all Americans are concerned about the economy and now view innovation as a fundamental kitchen table issue. Most citizens also understand that we may lose our innovation leadership if we fail at basic tasks such as educating our students for the jobs of tomorrow or making smart investments in research and development. Our message to our elected leaders is that we must act to ensure that America remains the global center of innovation and economic growth and the technology industry will be a strong partner in that process.”

Key findings from the Zogby survey in the three TechNet policy areas include:

Improving the U.S. Education System, Developing a Stronger Workforce and Supporting Human Capital:

- U.S. voters believe our students are not competitive. Fully 78% of likely voters surveyed agreed that America’s schools are failing to adequately prepare our children for the high-skilled jobs of the future.
- Americans strongly support high skilled legal immigration. Roughly two-thirds of likely voters (66%) believe that it’s acceptable to bring in highly-skilled individuals from other nations through the nation’s legal immigration process if an American is not available to fill jobs that require high-level engineering or science skills. One-fifth (20%) think that the job should be left open indefinitely.
- The jobs of the future may not have been created yet. Half of U.S. likely voters (50%) do not think the companies that our nation┬┐s sixth graders will work for in the future have been created yet, while a quarter (25%) think they have been and 26% were not sure.

Fostering a Globally Competitive Business Climate

- Concern over the economy gets top billing. When asked what the greatest long-term threat to America’s quality of life and leadership in the modern world, 29% of likely voters selected the economy, 16% said a growing frustration with government, 15.1% reported failing schools, 14% reported health care costs, 9% reported terrorism and 8% said corporate malfeasance.
- Foreign competitors will lead innovation. The majority (58%) of respondents believe a foreign country will drive the most technological innovation in the next decade. Only 32.6% of those polled think the United States will drive the most innovation in the next 10 years (11% of respondents were not sure).
- Tax cuts will stimulate growth. When asked what would most help grow economic growth in the U.S. over the long run, most preferred a reduction in taxes for businesses and individuals (43.4%) followed by greater investment in technology and R&D (22%), increased investment in education (19%) and more federal spending on infrastructure like roads and bridge (10%).
- Broadband is essential. An overwhelming number of respondents (91%) believe that broadband access is somewhat or very important in their lives. Additionally, 43% would be more likely to vote for their member of Congress if they supported investing in broadband improvements (27% were less likely). When asked what best describes their opinion about the role of the federal government in fostering the growth and development of a faster Internet, six in ten (57%) voters said that “the federal government should stay out of it and let the private sector drive the development” and 31% say that “the federal government should play an aggressive role through more direct funding and tax breaks.

Driving Investment for Clean Technology and 21st Century Energy Solutions:

- The technology sector and clean tech can create jobs. When asked what industries have the most potential to create good-paying, long-term jobs, the technology sector (28%) and green energy (28%) tied for top billing. Manufacturing was the third highest response with 18% and 12% of likely voters responded not sure.
- Clean technology can help solve nation’s problems. More than two-fifths (45%) of voters believe reducing our reliance on foreign oil has the best chance of being improved upon using technology. One-fifth (21%) believe technology can spur job creation, 15% said improving health care, 6% fighting terrorism and 5% reported better connecting citizens and governments.
- Americans would pay for clean technologies. 62% of likely voters would support short-term, small increases in their monthly energy bill if it would lead to new innovations that would ultimately lower their bills, reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels and create more high-paying jobs in the U.S. One-fifth (21%) of Americans would be less likely to support such an increase knowing this and 14% say knowing this makes no difference in their decision to support such an increase.

“These survey results show that technology and innovation can provide a strong prescription catalyst to improving the nation’s economic climate and our ability to compete,” said John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco and co-founder of TechNet. “We look forward to working with our nation’s leaders on both sides of the aisle to enact policy solutions to connect more of our citizens through high speed broadband for next generation Internet, which will enable better job creation, delivery of healthcare, education, smart energy solutions and to the many other opportunities that innovation can deliver.”

“The American public “gets it”: they know that broadband technology and clean energy technology are key to 21st century high wage jobs,” said John Doerr, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and co-founder of TechNet. “The Chinese have figured this out. We can innovate to create our clean energy future, or buy it from others. Let’s work in bipartisan collaboration to make America a world leader in the broadband new energy economy.”

“Our nation’s success rests on high quality education, access to top talent and entrepreneurial drive,” said Kim Polese, CEO or SpikeSource and a member of TechNet’s executive committee. “The public understands that losing any of these ingredients will put both the technology sector and the broader economy at risk.”

“America’s prosperity and global leadership in the 21st century will be built on a foundation of technology, innovation and competitiveness,” said Mark McLaughlin, President and CEO of VeriSign and a member of TechNet’s executive committee. “The American people clearly understand this, and support a policy environment that encourages leadership, innovation and technological advancement. Their vision is a blueprint for policymakers on both sides of the aisle.”

“Technology companies are so critical to America’s future,” said KR Sridhar, Founder and CEO of Bloom Energy. “We are willing to tackle our biggest problems, challenge conventional approaches, and invent new solutions. In the process we create jobs and help the economy grow. It is exciting to see such strong support of our mission from the American public.”

The Zogby-463 survey of 4,143 likely U.S. voters was conducted from March 12-15 with a margin of error of +/- 1.6 percentage points.

About TechNet: TechNet is the national, bipartisan network of CEOs that promotes the growth of technology industries and the economy by building long-term relationships between technology leaders and policymakers and by advocating a targeted policy agenda. Our members are the nation’s drivers of innovation in the fields of information technology, e-commerce, clean technology, biotechnology, venture capital and investment banking – representing two million employees and $800 billion in revenues. TechNet has offices in Washington, DC, Palo Alto, Sacramento, Seattle, Boston, Austin, and Albany, NY. Web address: You can also follow us on Twitter at Technetupdate@twitter.